By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State Governor, is among top personalities expected to grace the maiden South East Sports Foundation athletics competition slated for Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, on March 19. The event originally billed for March 13 was moved forward to allow Rangers FC honour a league match at the venue.
Fides gathered that the South East Sports Foundation is a pet project of United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, who was one of the most gifted hurdlers to rise from the nation’s school sports system.
Okorie, who won a silver medal for Team Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, has been bankrolling a scholarship programme for athletes and training of some Nigerian coaches at the National Institute for Sports (NIS), Lagos.
An official of the South East Sports Foundation told newsmen on Tuesday, March 2, that Governor Ugwuanyi would lead other state executives to grace the competition, which is the first of its kind in the eastern states since Imo ’98 National Sports Festival.
Also expected at the event is the commissioner for sports in Enugu State, as well as Directors of Sports from Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and the host Enugu.
According to Okorie, athletes are expected to arrive the coal city on March 18 to compete the following day in 100m (male and female), 200m (male and female), 400m (male and female) and the jumps.
He hinted that the event is open to all Nigerian athletes, but only those from the region would get prizes. ‘It is an opportunity for the athletes to test their fitness level ahead the Edo 2021 National Sports Festival, which holds in April, as well as the Tokyo Olympics,’ Okorie disclosed.